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Higher Education in Maryland


2014-2015 Application deadline has passed

DOWNLOAD 2014-2015 John R. Justice Grant Application

How to Apply

Each year you choose to apply for the program, you must submit a Maryland John R. Justice Student Grant Application form and supporting documentation. There is no preference given to renewals for this program at this time. The program application is made up of the Application form, Employment Verification form, Lender Verification form, and Service Agreement form. You may download and print the forms by selecting the Application link above.

All forms must be submitted to the address listed on the application form to be classified as complete and applicants are responsible to assure all documents are received by the deadline.

Submission of an application does not guarantee an award and the Office of Student Financial Assistance may request additional documentation to verify data report on the application.


The John R. Justice Maryland Student Loan Repayment Program provides for the payment of eligible educational loans for Maryland State and Federal public defenders and prosecutors who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years. Eligible recipients must sign a three year service obligation to receive a payment under this program. Failure to fulfill the employment commitment will require repayment of the full amount received by the recipient to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Office of Student Financial Assistance of the Maryland Higher Education Commission administers the John R. Justice Program for the State of Maryland


  • Be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have an outstanding balance due on an eligible education loan(s), which includes Federal Stafford loans, Graduate PLUS loans, consolidation loans and Perkins loans
  • Be an attorney continually licensed to practice law in Maryland, and
    • A full-time employee of the State of Maryland or unit of local government (including tribal government) who prosecutes criminal or juvenile delinquency cases at the state or unit of local government level, including supervision, education, or training of other persons prosecuting such cases. (Prosecutors who are employees of the federal government are not eligible), or 
    • A full-time employee of the State of Maryland or unit of local government (including tribal government) who provides legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases including supervision, education or training of other persons providing such representation, or  
    • A full-time employee of an nonprofit organization operating under a contract with Maryland or unit of local government who devotes substantially all of the employee’s full-time employment to providing legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile cases including supervision, education, or training of other persons providing such representation, or 
    • Employed in Maryland as a full-time federal defender attorney in a defender organization pursuant to Section 9 (g) of section 3006A of Title 18, United States Code, that provides legal representation to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency cases.
  • Not be in default on a federal guaranteed educational loan, or owe a refund on any scholarship or grant program administered by the Maryland Office of Student Financial Assistance.
The following are eligible student loans for repayment with JRJ funds:

i. A loan made, insured or guaranteed under Part B of subchapter IV of Chapter 28 of Title 20 (Federal Family Education Loan Program);

ii. A loan made under part C or D of subchapter IV of Chapter 28 of Title 20 (William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan and Federal Perkins Loans);

iii. A loan made under section 1078-3 or 1087 e(g) of Title 20 (Federal consolidation loans and Federal Direct Consolidation loans, respectively).

The following are ineligible student loans for repayment with JRJ funds

iv. A loan made to parents of a dependent student under section 428B of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078-2);

v. A Federal Direct PLUS loan made to the parents of a dependent student;

vi. A loan under section 428C or 455 (g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078-3 (Federal consolidation loans) and 1087 e(g) (Federal Direct Consolidation loans) to the extent that such loan was used to repay a loan described in clause (iv) or (v).

Income and Loan Debt Limits

Preference is given to applicants must have an adjusted gross federal income (AGI) for the prior year equal to or less than $60,000 if single or $130,000 if married AND a minimum total eligible student loan debt of $40,000.  If a sufficient number of applications are not received within the income and loan debt guidelines, the AGI and/or loan balance minimums will be adjusted.

How Funds are Awarded and Disbursed

Allocation of program funds will be equally distributed between prosecutors and public defenders. Each Appellate Court district will be allocated an equal share of funds for prosecutors and public defenders. This will allow a more equal distribution based on geography and populations served as program guidelines require.

Recipients are selected based on their ability to repay their student loans as determined by a ratio of student loan debt to adjusted gross income (AGI) and a cost of living factor based on the applicant’s residence.

Applicants in each Appellate Court district, identified by county of employment will be ranked by their loan debt/AGI ratio, and the applicant with the highest ratio will be eligible to receive an award.  A cost of living factor based on county of residence will be used if eligible applicants have identical loan debt/AGI ratios.  Those applicants not receiving benefits under another program that provides loan repayment/forgiveness assistance for eligible educational loans will be considered before applicants that are receiving such benefits.  Once all the funds allocated for a particular district has been exhausted on prosecutor and defender ranking lists, the awards for that district will cease. In the event that the number of applicants from a particular district is insufficient to exhaust the funds, then the remaining dollars in that district's allocation will be awarded to the highest ranked individuals who were not funded in other appellate districts. During the initial year of awarding modifications may be required to meet all program guidelines.

All payments to eligible applicants are subject to federal and state tax regulations. 


All awards are subject to the availability of funding and the approval of the signed service agreement by the Department of Justice.  

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